Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pack Raft Adventure Number Two; Winner Creek Trail to 20 Mile River

Another early start time from Girdwood, Alaska down the Winner Creek Trail.
We stepped off in light misty rain and low hanging clouds, occasionaly the precip would stop and a few clouds would lift revealing glaciers and peaks around the valley.
Fireweed still in bloom
Winner Creek Trail 7 miles to the Pass, plus 2 additional miles bushwacking to the 20 Mile River while dropping 2000ft elevation
Waterfall coming from unknown glacier above
More Fireweed
Almost to the pass
Winner Creek Pass, very interesting, several little ponds were on the pass, with creeks trickling in both directions North and South flowing
Just before the bushwhacking begins, this is the part where we saw several Black Bear paw prints going in all directions with an unidentified animal scat across the trail
Finally, after 2+ hours of bushwhacking we met up with the 20 mile River
Stream we'd been "hand railing" downhill that intersected with the River
Ready to paddle

45 minutes of Class 2 whitewater led to 2+ hours of casual "lazy" river floating in a typical Alaskan swift current

AK R&R Whistle Stop Train
Finally, the Seward Hwy, and we only missed dinner by 4 hours.....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Crow Pass Crossing; via Foot & PackRaft

In hopes of salvaging a gorgeous summer with some adventure, we decided to embark on our first trek/packraft adventure. After borrowing some "Alpacka" packrafts from our good buddy Marc we embarked on this single day adventure from the Crow Pass trailhead in Girdwood, Alaska.
Fireweed in bloom, clouds burning off, blue sky shining through, its gonna be a good day!
We each roughly carried 30-35lbs packs
Packraft (6-8lbs empty) folds to about the size of a small sleeping bag
We also carried collapsible paddles, life preservers, air pumps, dry suits, dry bags, paddling gloves and booties, water, food, dry clothes, and bear spray
Crow Pass trail looking back towards Girdwood
High water conditions on the Eagle River, clear blue skies, warm air temperatures brought out several expeditions of packrafters making the same trek as us
Matt heading over the pass
Token crow pass photograph, raven glacier looking stunner in the background
I'm very happy with how the Raven Glacier photographs turned out and will probably create a separate blog entry because I took so many
Starting the descent from Crow Pass towards the Eagle River
More Raven Glacier
Bull Moose (shot take with Olympus point and shoot, not zoomed in, he really was that close)
Shoulder high Fireweed
The Eagle Glacier source of the Eagle River, and part two of today's adventure
Full kit donned and ready to rip!
This may have been our first time packrafting, but we sure looked like professionals!
Totally stoked with the whitewater!

Matt doing his best "tubing" impression, looking for his Coors Light
Low water in some spots required a short portage across gravel bars
My rig

Mission complete, before returning to the patrol base we stopped by our favorite watering home for a Pizza Man Special (extra large) and 32oz Schooner of the best local micro brew